In cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers are an excellent treatment that can conservatively and inconspicuously augment your teeth’s shape, length, texture, colour, brightness, proportions – or any combination of these – to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. In the right candidate, veneers can last for decades without wear or damage.
Like natural teeth, though, porcelain veneers are not indestructible and their longevity will depend on how well they are cared for. No matter how well they are being looked after, veneers will eventually need to be replaced at some point. However, the following considerations will ensure that you get the most out of your dental investment.
- Apply routine and thorough oral hygiene practices. Dental veneers can develop staining and even decay around the margins without proper care and maintenance. Good oral hygiene practices will also ensure optimal soft tissue health to prevent your gums from pulling away at the veneer-to-tooth interface (what we call the gingival recession) which can compromise the aesthetics of your smile. Therefore, brushing at least twice a day with a non-abrasive toothpaste, flossing daily and attending your dentist for a six-monthly check-up and clean are of the utmost importance. The latter, will also ensure that your dentist can properly advise and guide you as to the best way to care for your porcelain veneers.
- Limit or avoid foods and drinks that readily stain and wear away teeth. Foods and drinks such as blueberries, coffee, tea, soft drink and wine or habits such as smoking can readily highlight the margins of your veneers if consumed frequently over prolonged periods.
- Use oral protection appliances. Although the material used for porcelain veneers is quite strong and durable, increased and/or repetitive strain can cause damage to your veneers. If you play any contact sports, you are advised wear a mouthguard to prevent your veneers from cracking and chipping. Similarly, addressing teeth clenching and grinding habits by visiting your dentist so that they can prescribe you with a night guard will also prevent this kind of damage.
- Don’t use your teeth for anything other than chewing. Most of us are guilty of using our teeth as a bottle opener in an “emergency” or to loosen up that stubborn knot. However, these habits can compromise the integrity of your veneers and can also damage your natural tooth structure.
Keep in mind that not everyone is the right candidate for veneers and one of the main reasons for premature breakage or de-bonding of these restorations is that the patient was unsuitable for the treatment in the first place. Thus, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist and undergo a comprehensive examination. If you take advantage of one of our complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultations, our dentists will be able to determine your suitability for porcelain veneers or recommend alternative treatment options if you do not qualify.
Dr Peter Huynh
BSc (Melb), DDS (Melb)
General Dental Care